Early in the 20th century, Scottdale was the center of the Frick coke interests. It had steel and iron pipe mills, brass and silver works, a casket factory, a large milk-pasteurizing plant, and machine shops; all of the aforementioned are presently defunct. Scottdale is notable for its economic decline from a formerly prosperous coke-town into an archetypal Rust Belt town. Duraloy Technologies, "a supplier of specialty high alloy, centrifugal and static cast components and assemblies" is the last remnant of Scottdale's steel related prosperity.
In 1900, 4,261 people lived in Scottdale; in 1910, the population increased to 5,456; and in 1940, 6,493 people lived in Scottdale. The population was 4,772 at the 2000 census. Scottdale is located in the Southmoreland School District.